Interactive Look at Tennis Court Surfaces

There is a very cool article over on the New York Times website about the differences in clay, grass and hard courts in tennis. The site makes great use of animation and info-graphics.

I know that the newspaper industry is supposedly really struggling right now and all, but if any of them need a hint about how to make an effective online presence (read: worth going to), they should take a good long look at the New York Times website. The design is fantastic and they often really take advantage of the interactive side of the web.

I really wish The Boston Globe would take the hint.

Via Kottke.

Batch Processing Elevator Rides

Have you ever been annoyed at being stuck in an elevator that seems to stop at every single floor? I know I have, and the building I work in only has four floors. Apparently the designers of the new New York Times building were annoyed too. More importantly, they decided to do something about it:

At our building, a rider pushes a button on a keypad before getting on an elevator to tell the system what floor she’d like to go to. The system then directs her to a specific car which, in theory, will also carry other riders going to that same floor. The idea is to get riders to their floors faster by ‘batch processing’ them, so to speak, rather than serially processing them.

I think this is a really neat idea. I’m always amazed when something that is so ubiquitous in our lives gets redesigned. I feel like usually it never occurs to people that something so mundane could be made better. I sure hope the usability kinks get worked out and that people take to the idea.

Bad Laws Make Bad Citizens

Here is an interesting Opinion article from The New York Times about the recent anti-gambling legislation passed by the G.O.P. I light Murray’s insight into how and why citizens obey the law: not because they have to, but because they want to.

If a free society is to work, the vast majority of citizens must reflexively obey the law not because they fear punishment, but because they accept that the rule of law makes society possible. That reflexive law-abidingness is reinforced when the laws are limited to core objectives that enjoy consensus support, even though people may disagree on means.

And then, an insight into what this type of government leads to:

For millions of Americans, our day-to-day relationship with government is increasingly like paying protection to the Mafia — keeping it off our backs while we get on with our lives.

Via Daring Fireball